Wednesday, September 19, 2012


People keep asking me how my cancer was discovered, whether I'd felt it myself, etc.  At the risk of writing far too much information for some of you, I will tell you about the "perfect storm"  of my discovery.  First, my right side has always been bigger than the left.  Second, I have been notoriously bumpy, ridgy, fibrous, dense, according to every mammographer and practitioner I have encountered.  Next, I had a benign cyst removed from the same spot where the tumor is now, causing me historically to feel a bit of a bump and scar tissue in that location.  Therein lies the perfect storm.  Oh, and being on the cusp of menopause, my parts have been doing all manner of strange things in the last year or so.  Add to this my history.  I had my first mammogram at 35 , as a baseline as my mother had breast cancer.  In the interim she was gene tested and found to be Brca 1 and 2 negative.  These are the known markers for breast cancer (to be sure, unknowns exist though).    This information led me to proceed as a normal risk.  I have had many mammograms.  AMA or whoever changed the recommendations for mammogram to beginning annually at age 50.  I am 49 .  So, I did in fact skip 2010 and 2011.  Mistake?  Maybe, but not something it is productive to revisit.

I felt what I know now is the main tumor, maybe in early August, in Maine.  I feel as well educated as I can be, and noted that what I felt seemed par for the course for me, if a little large.  It moved, as the breast exam pamphlets tell you that the nonscary lumps do.  In any case, I knew my annual exam was the week after we came home, so I addressed it then.  I had a mammogram and here I am today, not a month later, having had more medical procdures done to me than I've ever had in my life, willing my new allies in the form of liquid poisons to flow through my body and do their work.

There is no moral here, or advice about when or how many mammograms to have.  I do not know and never will whether my cancer have shown on one a year ago.  Nor is this a productive question at this point.  There is any amount of conflicting opinions about how to go about caring for yourself and finding potential problems.  All a person can do is their best, I guess.  A lot of people are going to get cancer.  So, really it should not be all that surprising when it happens.  There is no free pass for fit, healthy people who eat a relatively healthy diet.

Again, at the risk of TMI, I hope this answers some questions about my particular experience.  I suppose you could talk to 100  more women and hear 100 different stories.  I am going to get out of bed  now and jog the poodle.  Daily ritual.

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